The pelvic floor is an important part of our anatomy, but unfortunately many woman have no idea what it is and what is does. Here are 5 things every woman should know about their pelvic floor…
1. What is the pelvic floor? Where is it located? What does it do?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles on the bottom of our pelvis. They are a bowl on the bottom of our pelvis and that bowl goes from our pubic bone in the front to our tailbone in the back and spans across our sit bone. These muscles are intimately related around our urethra, vagina, and anus.
The pelvic floor muscles have several functions:
- make sure that we don’t pee and poop on ourselves when it’s not time to.
- need to relax to let the pee in the poop happen.
- involved in sexual function with arousal and orgasm.
- part of our core support muscles.
- Support for bony pelvis
2. There is more to the pelvic floor than just kegels.
Oftentimes, the only thing that people think that they need to do with the pelvic floor is to do kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are a contraction of the pelvic floor.
When we contract with the pelvic floor, we squeeze off around the urethra vagina anus. It is a draw up and in motion like you’re stopping the flow of urine or you are holding back gas.
Muscles are not designed to only contract. Muscles need to be able to both contract and relax and stretch. The pelvic floor should not be constantly doing Kegel exercise.
Many women wrongly assume that they should be doing kegels all day long and are trying to hold it tight all day long. If we’re working on trying to strengthen a muscle, it needs to move to strengthen. It needs to both contract and relax.
3. Bladder leaking is never normal.
Bladder leakage is common, but it is not normal. Many women wrongly assume that as they age that bladder leakage is just going to be a normal part of their life.
This leaking can occur in the form of bladder leakage when we cough or sneeze or laugh, or maybe when we try to jump or run. Other women may have trouble getting to the bathroom in time.
Bladder leakage is never normal. Don’t just live with bladder leakage. There’s things that you can do to make a difference with it.
4. Pelvic floor muscles help us have healthy bowel movements
The pelvic floor plays a big role in making sure that our bowels are moving well.
Making sure that your pelvic floor muscles are contracting and relaxing and moving the way that they should be, can assist if you are having some issues with bowel movements.
We frequently work with women who are having trouble with constipation who need to learn to relax their pelvic floor muscles better to be able to create a better push to have a bowel movement.
Quick tip that I’ll give you right now is that positioning on the toilet can make a huge difference to helping you relax your pelvic floor to be able to push. I am a big fan of a product called the Squatty Potty. Getting your knees up higher than your hips can make a big difference in how you have your bowel movements.
5. Sex should not be painful.
Unfortunately, many woman think that as they age they are just going to have more pain with sex.
Like bladder leakage, this is common but not normal.
If you are experiencing pain with intercourse, oftentimes there can be a problem with your pelvic floor muscles, not stretching and relaxing as well as they should be. The muscles could be too tense and tight to allow for comfortable penetration.
It also could be a lubrication issue that is playing into it.
There’s many, many things that you can do to make a difference with painful intercourse. Don’t just live with pain with intercourse.
If any of these tips resonate with you because these are things that you’re experiencing, you may benefit from pelvic physical therapy. We are here for you. Reach out to us at 636-225-3649 or email us at [email protected] to see how we can help.